I'm giving you guys a different look. Instead of going game-by-game and covering each and every pitch, I've decided to simply take a look at the season as a number of 3 to 4 game series and spend time discussing the match-ups and the overall performance of the club during those stretches. Besides, as most of you who do read me know, I am very sporadic in my posting and updating. Covering the games this way will, hopefully, give me enough time to give you guys something tangible every few days.
Not a great game pitching-wise. C.C. looked tentative and was missing consistently with his fastball. Overall, it was a very frustrating first impression that had all the usual suspects in the press running for the hills, more than ready to denounce the signing, his impact, and the entire season.
Revolting and typical. This type of coverage is only going to get worse with every poor performance and may get out of control when You-Know-Who come off the DL at the end of the month. Just be ready...
Anyway, C.C. is traditionally a slow starter. In fact, he was God awful last April in Cleveland going 1-4 with a 7.88 ERA. Obviously he got better throughout the season and was 9-0 in July and August. You know, when it means just a little bit more. All things considered, I can't be worried with what he does Game 1 in April and on the road.
The bullpen looked solid until Coke's leash got a bit too long. It was a garbage HR though and will probably be the only one Caesar Iszturis hits all year. That was the back-breaker though and was so late in the game that the Yanks couldn't mount another scoring spree.
Really, this game was very winnable despite Sabathia's performance. We were down 1 run late and there was a nice little small ball scoring opportunity Girardi constructed with Ramiro Pena at 3rd, having been bunted over by Brett Gardner after Pena pinch ran for the pinch hitting Nick Swisher -- who doubled. Wow. Nice use of the bench, Joe. Keep it coming.
Anyway, 3rd base is still the same Bermuda Triangle for Yankee baserunners as it ever was. Jeter couldn't knock him in after a soft grounder and Damon lifted an easy fly ball to end the inning. This situations are always unfortunate, mostly because people usually second-guess the manager for sacrificing the out to get the guy on second over to third while failing to realize that a simple, moderately deep fly ball brings the runner home from 3rd with 1 out, but I digress. Yanks lose 10-5.
My Dad and I joked that afternoon that after C.C.'s loss Wang was sure to have no sinker and sport a flat slider. Guess what happened? Yep.
I hate to just let the excuses fly after two consecutive games, but this was an excusable performance. Wang was just off. Several times Jorge had to come out and remind Wang about release points and staying on top off the ball. And to their credit, the Baltimore hitters were taking advantage of the situation just as they did on Monday against C.C.
The Baltimore Orioles are something that's been severely missing from the coverage thus far. This is a good little team filled with emerging young players who can really play the game. Defensively, they look great in the infiled and untouchable in the outfield. And they proved that in this game. In fact, I'll put Markasis, Jones, and Pie up against any 3 outfielders playing today. I may not come out on top, but I'll be near it. They look to remain that same pesky team from Baltimore we can't put away and screws up our record.
I was proud to see the Yanks fight out of the hole again, but boys from the Bronx couldn't ultimately take this game as they fell 7-5 to the Orioles. In reality, it was another winnable contest that we failed to capitalize on. Wang's offerings were not staying on the ground off of Baltimore bats and those that were, proved just out of reach -- looking at you Cody Ransom.
It was a nice run in the 9th, but it all proved to be too little too late though.
For some reason it was a big deal that the Yankees starters failed to strike out a single batter for the first 2 games. Sure, I expected C.C. to fan a few as that's why we got him, but he was just out of the zone for most of the game and the Baltimore hitters were very patient. Wang's another story in entirety. He doesn't strike guys out as that's usually the one bad thing his critics are quick to point out. Whatever though, A.J. soon made quick work of the K drought that plagued the Yankee rotation.
I was lucky enough to attend this game (I'll try to post some of my pics later) and was pretty impressed with Mr. Burnett. Sure the pitch count was high and he left the game a little early, but he was getting outs when he needed them and worked in and out of the zone very nicely. Stopper, I dub thee A.J Burnett.
Joe went with a different look on the field and it payed of tremendous dividends. Molina was behind the dish and saved at least one run by gunning down a runner trying to swipe a bag. I tend to believe he handles the pitchers a bit better than Jorge, based on nothing really, but this mini-theory based on nothing was proven true with a few K's and a dominant performance by the bullpen.
In other genius Giradi moves, anybody see what Swish did? Wow. He looks a bit better than a .219 hitter, huh? Again, it's early, but a 5 RBI is still a 5 RBI game, I don't care what month it is. Yanks roll 11-2 and I finally get to see a Yankee victory in 2009.
Outside of the starting pitching issues, this was a pretty good start to the season. We saw HRs from old favorites like Jeter and Cano, the DL boys in Posada and Matsui, and even the new guys in Swisher and Teixiera chipped in. We outscored the O's 21 - 19 and got a glimpse of a few very important key details necessary for success. First, the bullpen looks great. Second, Cano's hitting in April. Third, injuries don't seem to have slowed Matsui or Posada in any meaningful way. Fourth, Girardi has a plan. He's swiping bags, subbing players (I know someone saw Derek on the bench n the 9th and Pena at short yesterday) and creating runs. And finally, the offense is clicking. Different guys are getting it done up and down the lineup.
We're 1-2, yet I really like what I've seen thus far. And the season marches on...